Unlike buying a car or computer, you cannot delay seeking health care | Letter

A socialist approach to health care.

I appreciate Ms. Darnell’s contribution to the continuing socialized medicine debate (Kirkland Reporter, Nov. 22, 2017), but she mingles thought-provoking arguments with specious ones. And her last comment betrays a tragic misunderstanding of the nature of health care.

“Would we want our food, housing and clothing socialized too? A single payer system for computers, cell phones and cars?”

No! Buying health care is not like buying a new computer (or car or phone or anything else). I can delay buying that computer (or car or phone) — indefinitely if I wish — but when I need medical help, the word “Now!” is generally the operative principle. Delay could mean death but staying alive could mean bankruptcy. Trust me, no one ever says, “Give me the cheapest doctor.”

We need Medicare for all explicitly because economic forces are NOT benign. Ms. Darnell’s conservative credo, “a free market approach will allow economic forces to drive down costs and increase choice and quality of care,” has no factual basis. Decades of evidence contradict that assertion. When the free market sings, profits call the tune. True, choice might increase, but only for those who can afford it.

In contrast, socialism works for the universal public good. It already works well for significant portions of our economy — our military, educational system, fire and police departments and public housing — and yes, Medicare (65 million enrollees) and Medicaid (73 million enrollees). We enjoy a socialist approach for defense and education because we want to cover ALL our citizens, believing that no American should be left unprotected or uneducated.

Other western countries add “unhealthy” to the list of items that their citizens should not endure. Shouldn’t the United States do the same? Are other countries more interested in the well-being of their citizens than we are?

Responding to worrisome diagnoses of chronic ailments like asthma or diabetes or catastrophic diagnoses like cancer or ALS should never be predicated on the ability to pay. That’s why other countries added health to education and defense. Those countries consciously and deliberately decided to help their citizens.

Shouldn’t the richest nation in the world do likewise?

John Scannell,

Sammamish


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